The Uber driver app on the windshield of UberX driver. (credit: The Washington Post / Getty Images)

Back in September 2015, a federal judge certified a class-action lawsuit against Uber—if the plaintiffs are successful, former and current California drivers would be declared as employees rather than contractors. If Uber loses, it would represent a sea change for the company and for the entire so-called “sharing economy.”
Uber’s newfound employees would be entitled to a number of benefits under federal law. Those perks would include, among others, unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation, the right to unionize, and most importantly, the right to seek reimbursement for mileage and tips. Those added expenses would certainly factor into Uber’s estimated valuation of $63 billion.
Since the case, O’Connor v. Uber, was certified, the startup has been hit with an additional 13 federal proposed class-action lawsuits nationwide—most of which have been filed by one New York-based firm. One case in Philadelphia was filed as recently as this month. These cases appear to be interested in riding the coattails of one successful suit, which could mean big bucks for attorneys and expanded benefits for Uber drivers.
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